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Tuesday, July 25, 2000 | Print this story

[ Doctor DeLuca's Addiction Website ]

'Moderate' vs. Abstinent Therapies for Alcoholism


     It is deeply distressing that an entire page of the July 17 section was devoted to Caroline Knapp's indictment of Moderation Management ("An Alcoholic's Private Anguish," July 17).
     The article is an op-ed piece and should have been labeled as such. Knapp's personal opinions and reflections were presented without an attempt to talk to the local MM representative, who also happens to be the national spokesperson of the organization.
     Contrary to the assertions of Knapp and other abstinence advocates, the decision whether to abstain or "moderate" is not a "black and white" one. People evolve into such decisions, often going back and forth in a cycle of contemplation, and this process is deeply individual. Audrey Kishline's story should not be used to make a case either for or against moderation, in the same way that the testimony of one AA member should not be construed as the truth about alcoholism.
     --MARC F. KERN
     PhD, licensed clinical psychologist, board of directors of Moderation Management
     Los Angeles

* * *
     It's important to rebut the opinion of Caroline Knapp: Most of us--alcoholic and nonalcoholic--want moderation to work. We want there to be an alternative to complete abstinence. For millions of sober alcoholics, moderation isn't rejected because of fear of relapse, but, more positively, because the abstinent life is found to be infinitely more rewarding, gratifying, healthful, comfortable, illuminating, inspiring, and fascinating (with affirming adjectives probably as numerous as abstinent alcoholics).
     For me, plainly and simply, it has felt wonderful, thank you, for over a decade to live that moderation which is abstinence. It's a tragedy, and a grim testimonial to the power of alcoholism and denial, that Audrey Kishline chose a different sort of moderation.
     --BILL HOFFINE
     San Diego

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